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I'm a big fan of Alfie Kohn and I really try to avoid punishment in any circumstance. I say "try to" because I don't intentionally punish but life seems to punish from time to time and it isn't always practical or possible to stop it, and I feel like by not intervening more there's still some punishment going on. I do intervene when I can and it isn't impractical, but I don't go crazy trying to keep anything bad from happening. I do feel like "natural consequences" if I could easily keep them from happening are still a kind of punishment I guess and I work to avoid that but I have mixed results.<br><br>
But anyway, I do try not to punish, at least I actively try to avoid it and look for other ways to handle problems. Does anyone else try to avoid punishing? Do you think it's unrealistic to not punish? Do you think it's possible? Is punishment necessary in some circumstances?
 

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For our family, it was not necessary.<br>
I go by the principle that children are people, and I wouldn't treat them any differently than I would want to be treated.<br>
So I don't do naughty step, 1, 2, 3 magic, stickers, or any method that would put me in control of their behaviour.<br><br>
Agree with you mamazee, sometimes it's difficult to see the difference between punishment and consequence. Consequence seems to be the new trendy word in child rearing books; I even read recently instructions on how to "issue" a consequence... obviously, if you have to "issue" one, we're talking about punishment.<br><br>
When i'm in doubt, i think of Barbara Coloroso's definition: punishment is used to control kids' behaviour and make them mind.<br><br>
But conequences are necessary, sometimes it's the only way they learn. "No dinner until you wash your hands!" My 3 y.o. refused today and I just put an empty plate in front of her, so she ran to the bathroom to wash her hands.
 

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short of sending me to Kohn's website, can you explain the premise? I'm big into respecting my kids. I think of them as little people, but punishment is inherent in my life as an adult… if I pick my nose in public, nobody will shake my hand, and they will tell other people I am gross. If I speed, I get a ticket. That statement about punishment versus consequence may be the linchpin here. But I feel that part of parenting is to "create" consequences. If I don't do so, or punish for unacceptable behavior, the punishment that the world at large hands out will be much less respectful and measured… and at some point I can't intervene.
 

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<p>For us it's "discipline". It can't be an arbitrary "you behaved contrary to my will and now you will be punished!". It's "This is what I expect of you. This is the reminder of what I expect of you. This is what the consequence will be." *then* there's the consequence. Especially for things like staying out of the street, don't touch the stove, so on. That's loving them. </p>
 

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<p>Communication is key and I have found that the tools for loving communications are in Positive Discipline from Dr.Jane Nelson. Her methods are respectful, attached, kind and firm. <br>
 </p>
<p>There are 6 session classes all over the world and they make a difference. Worth checking out. </p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Nightwish</strong> <a href="/community/t/1387563/is-punishment-ever-necessary#post_17420373"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><span style="line-height:1.231;">But conequences are necessary, sometimes it's the only way they learn. "No dinner until you wash your hands!" My 3 y.o. refused today and I just put an empty plate in front of her, so she ran to the bathroom to wash her hands.</span></div>
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<p>That is brilliant. Thanks so much for that. </p>
 

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<p>I am somewhere inbetween mindsets. Definitely interested in hearing more mama thoughts on this. This is a great topic to discuss! </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I will say that I am painfully aware of children who obviously are allowed to do whatever they want with no consequences. I don't think that is to be admired, and I find those children to be incredibly unappealing. I don't OVER discipline, but there are definite consequences to negative choices. I am an if_____than_____ parent. If you can't use table manners, you will leave the table. If you cannot speak to me with respect, you will go sit on your bed. If you don't help me to clean up the toys, you will not get to choose a story for me to read. If you don't keep your hands off of your sister, I will have to separate you. That sort of thing. I also really believe in talking about feelings. "You know, when you told me that I was stupid, it really made me feel frustrated because I really don't like that word." And there are definite consequences to using a word like stupid that we have decided does not belong in our home. And of course, there is some behaviour (unless it hurts others) that is ok to ignore because it is meant to get negative attention and I would MUCH rather give them positive attention. I love randomly grabbing my children and hugging them tight and saying, "Do you have any idea how incredibly special you are? Mama loves you SO much!"</p>
<p> </p>
<p>P.S. an above poster said that they don't use sticker charts because they like to treat their children like people. We have used sticker charts for things and given rewards and you know what, it worked WONDERFULLY to work towards better habits. Children are people, but they are at a different level in life than grownups, and I think it is perfectly fine for a child and a grownup to have a different way of reaching goals. We are different. I think it is important actually for children to know that children and adults are different. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>It is a fine line. I don't want my children to walk on egg shells or feel angry because they are being punished all the time, but I do want them to grow up to know that there are consequences, and that I do expect positive behaviour and good manners and that in life they will always get better results with positive behaviour. </p>
 

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<p>I agree with consequences.  In life, there are always consequences for bad behavior and to avoid teaching this is to leave them ill prepared for the real world.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Today my 4 year old son (who knows right from wrong and not to hit) deliberately took his sand shovel and whacked another younger child right on his head.  To have done nothing at all would be wrong . 1. The other mom was mouth-wide-open; "OMG"  2. My son is standing there about ready to do it again  3. In the real/adult world, if you whacked your co-worker on the head with a shovel or say, your stapler....well let's just say that would NOT fly.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>So, he was told to apologize and he was removed from the play area to sit for a while.  Not being able to participate in play and do what he wanted for a few minutes. I explained to him<em><span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span></em>that he was removed from play as a consequence of hurting someone.  After a few minutes of "thinking time" he was reminded that we don't hit other people and if he did this again we would have to leave the playground and go home immediately. So, call it whatever trendy word-of-the-day you want to call it but this "punishment or consequence" is necessary to raise good children.</p>
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<p>Sorry if it offends people but I am "old school" when it comes to preparing kids for reality. While I do not believe we should engage in corporal punishment of any kind, I do think we must show them right from wrong and sometimes that means they must be disciplined.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We are not doing justice to our kids by ignoring or glossing over poor behavior.  While we <em><span style="text-decoration:underline;">do</span></em> need to raise children with positive self image and to be happy, we don't need to raise children to think that they can do anything they please and not have a negative consequence.  That will only create children with an entitlement mind set ("it's my right to do anything I please") and add to the ever growing population of FB/Twitter-maniacal, self-centered, egotistical behavior that has become all too rampant today.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Nightwish</strong> <a href="/community/t/1387563/is-punishment-ever-necessary#post_17420373"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
For our family, it was not necessary.<br>
I go by the principle that children are people, and I wouldn't treat them any differently than I would want to be treated.<br>
So I don't do naughty step, 1, 2, 3 magic, stickers, or any method that would put me in control of their behaviour.<br><br>
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<p>I just wanted to interject and say that a sticker chart definitely gives a child in control, which is why it is effective in some cases. I don't know about the other methods you mentioned but I have used a sticker chart for nighttime choices and got great results with children who felt great about the outcomes. In fact, they designed it. We took a piece of black construction paper and for each child there was a line with boxes. They cut out yellow moons (some full moons and some half) and they were in control of it. I didn't make a big deal either way. In the morning we would check in and they would tell me what they earned for themselves. If they slept through the night in their beds without waking us (unless they needed help changing their sheets or something big like that) they got a half moon and if they had good morning manners (let everyone else sleep) they got another half moon. So some mornings they rewarded themselves a half moon, sometimes a full and rarely none. They were in charge of glueing the moon on in the morning, and they chose the reward. After ten moons they got an icecream sunday night. I will tell you, we only did it twice, and we never shamed them if they didn't get a moon. </p>
 

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<p>Sometimes there is an immediate action that you desire to achieve and sometimes you can ask questions.</p>
<p>The empowerment opportunity exists in the form of asking for what you want , instead of telling your kids what to do.</p>
<p>For example, ask your child: What do you need to to before you eat so your hands are not icky and dirty? </p>
<p>And if your kiddo needs a little connection before you "ask, not tell" maybe say something like...</p>
<p>'I bet you had fun playing in the dirt -- What do you need to do before eating so your hands are ready to use for dinner?" <br>
 </p>
<p>Even though these questions are not as quick and easy as just telling  our kids what to do, there are long term benefits to using coaching questions when conditions are safe and daily skills are desired.<img alt="joy.gif" id="user_yui_3_10_0_1_1375388874251_880" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/joy.gif" style="line-height:1.231;"></p>
 

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Tis is an idea that I have been struggling with recently. I just finished the book P.E.T. Parent Effectiveness Training by Thomas Gordon. I really felt good about his take on parent/child relationships. My upbringing of course gets in the way all the time. I want to treat my children with respect and trust that they will make decisions that are socially acceptable, but I find myself getting frustrated and lecturing, yelling, reprimanding at certain times of the month and during tired, stressful times. I work on this every day as I believe in peaceful parenting.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>alexisfaye</strong> <a href="/community/t/1387563/is-punishment-ever-necessary#post_17420912"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif"></a><br><br>
short of sending me to Kohn's website, can you explain the premise? I'm big into respecting my kids. I think of them as little people, but punishment is inherent in my life as an adult… if I pick my nose in public, nobody will shake my hand, and they will tell other people I am gross. If I speed, I get a ticket. That statement about punishment versus consequence may be the linchpin here. But I feel that part of parenting is to "create" consequences. If I don't do so, or punish for unacceptable behavior, the punishment that the world at large hands out will be much less respectful and measured… and at some point I can't intervene.</div>
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Alfie Kohn believes that punishment and rewards (as rewards are like the flip coin of punishments, a punishment in reverse) teach children to do things for external reasons rather than internal reasons, and that they can make children feel like our love for them is conditional. He has a book called Unconditional Parenting that I read and I enjoyed.<br><br>
I don't personally feel like they are NECESSARY to create children who are pleasant to be around (and mine are quite nice, even the younger one although she has a pretty easy personality anyway) but I don't think using punishment necessarily makes children feel that they aren't unconditionally loved either. Maybe harsh and frequent punishments, but not punishment the way I've heard moms here talk about them.<br><br>
He writes a great deal about schools and education, and also doesn't like competition in schools or praise of the "good job" sort.<br><br>
I guess overall his idea is that we should always "work with" kids rather than "do to" kids. Look at what is happening behind the behavior instead of focusing on the behavior.
 

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I have a question: I always try to not use punishment, but yesterday my son punched the TV with his fist! He's three. My husband really wants to tell him he can't watch TV for the rest of the day if he hits or throws anything at it because it is so dangerous. I'm not comfortable with this. I spoke with our DS and so did my husband. He seemed to grasp why it's not a good idea to hit the TV and he said he was sorry. What do you guys think? I don't want to hijack the thread but this is along the same lines we are discussing here. I'm happy to start a new thread if you think I should, mamazee. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Didn't it hurt his hand? It seems like that would keep him from doing it again. With one of my kids, we put a bit of a barricade in front of the TV for a while when she was rough with it, but we didn't punish.<br><br>
I think it's fine to ask here but you might get more responses if you start a fresh thread. Go with what feels right as far as that goes. <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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<p>We've always had three house rules posted on the wall:  Be kind, Be truthful.  Show respect.  If there is a behavior that is repetitive and goes against one of these rules the person with the behavior writes the behavior they would like to practice for the week (with help if too young) and what they are going to do if they're having trouble following the behavior.  An example:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>"I will speak calmly when I'm angry."</p>
<p> </p>
<p>if I can't I will...</p>
<p> </p>
<p>"Go sit in my room until I'm calm."</p>
<p> </p>
<p>This is literally what my 5 year old has written for this week.  She's had to come back to this behavior a few times in her life, but it works because she is in control of the change, not me.  The child has to come up with the plan for this to work.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>alexisfaye</strong> <a href="/community/t/1387563/is-punishment-ever-necessary#post_17420912"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
short of sending me to Kohn's website, can you explain the premise? I'm big into respecting my kids. I think of them as little people, but punishment is inherent in my life as an adult… if I pick my nose in public, nobody will shake my hand, and they will tell other people I am gross. If I speed, I get a ticket. That statement about punishment versus consequence may be the linchpin here. But I feel that part of parenting is to "create" consequences. If I don't do so, or punish for unacceptable behavior, the punishment that the world at large hands out will be much less respectful and measured… and at some point I can't intervene.</div>
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<p><br>
The difference between your example (getting a ticket for speeding - which is indeed punishment) and punishing your child for "misbehaving", is that I don't have (nor do I want to have) a relationship with the policeman who fines me, but I do have and want a relationship with my child. A better example would be: would I want my husband to punish me because I didn't do something he asked - even if it's a reasonable request... Let's imagine, for the sake of comparison that he asks me to pick him up from work, as he's not driving, and I refuse. A punishment would be that he takes away my computer or locks me in my room (which is silly and/or disrespectful). A consequence would be that next time when I want a favour from him, he won't be so happy to oblige.</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>vermontgirl</strong> <a href="/community/t/1387563/is-punishment-ever-necessary#post_17421020"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br><p> </p>
<p>P.S. an above poster said that they don't use sticker charts because they like to treat their children like people. We have used sticker charts for things and given rewards and you know what, it worked WONDERFULLY to work towards better habits. Children are people, but they are at a different level in life than grownups, and I think it is perfectly fine for a child and a grownup to have a different way of reaching goals. We are different. I think it is important actually for children to know that children and adults are different. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>It is a fine line. I don't want my children to walk on egg shells or feel angry because they are being punished all the time, but I do want them to grow up to know that there are consequences, and that I do expect positive behaviour and good manners and that in life they will always get better results with positive behaviour. </p>
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<p>To respond to your observation, stickers and rewards don't sit well *with me*. I have NO DOUBT that they work. Many things work as far as discipline is concerned, but I still wouldn't do them. What I mean by treating them as people, is that I wouldn't give a sticker or a reward to my dh or my parents or my friends for behaving in what I deem acceptable manner, so I wouldn't do it to my children.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>(Not saying that I find the method reprehensible. I tried once or twice but quickly gave up *because* it worked. I didn't like the feeling that ds was so excited to please me and make sure that I <em>saw</em> he was behaving the way I requested. I wanted him to do the right thing because it's right, not because I'm watching or he gets a golden star for it.)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Again, not saying that what I do is the right and only way to discipline. Just my point of view.</p>
 

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<p>First off, let me clarify that the unconditional/gentle parenting model is not a permissive model. Aha Parenting has <a href="http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/Discipline" target="_blank">a great article on this</a>.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Let's take the sandbox situation above. In Alfie Kohn-land you absolutely would intervene and not allow the boy to hit the baby. But, rather than forcing an apology or a secluded time-out, the caregiver would take a "time in" with the child and find out the reason behind the action and then coach the child to address that appropriately, for example: use words like, "You are in my way. Please move," ask adult for help if the baby doesn't respond, take a deep breath to calm down, move yourself since we cannot move others, etc.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>My 2.5 year-old just finished up a nasty aggressive phase. Bad. Like biting and shoving strangers, as well as his baby brother. When we dug at the issue we discovered several things: his baby brother is teething and demonstrating biting and crawling and getting into his stuff, he is going through an oral phase although he has all of his teeth and he just needs something to chew on, he has been feeling angry (normal for the age) and did not know how to articulate it. Rather than punish him, we kept both he and his brother safe when the angry moments welled up while we talked it through. We got some kids' book on anger and read them together. We practiced using words to ask an adult for help to calm down. We sent him to playdates with "biting keys" so he could bite those instead of others, we practiced yelling, "I'm angry," we practiced deep breathing, etc. Eventually he chilled out.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>In all honesty, the biting phase may have taken 2-3 weeks to get through with spanking, or time outs, or gentle discipline. But, with our method we walked away with a little boy who is growing life skills that he can use on his own rather than needing an adult to patrol him.  He can now recognize and articulate his feelings a bit better. He knows that even when he messes up, we'll still face life together. In watching me stay calm, he saw a real-life example of what it looks like when we deal with anger through articulation instead of force. (I assure you, it was VERY hard to stay calm! I grew a lot, too.) Also, we got to experience the joy of hearing genuine, unprompted apologies--another skill he got to learn.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>When I first started reading Kohn, I couldn't palate him. But, the more I see his method work not only on my kids but the kids I work with professionally, I get more and more on board.</p>
 

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<p>I love natural consequences but they aren't always effective or practical in every situation. My 2 year old absolutely hates holding our hand when we are walking outside. We don't usually make her if we feel like it's a safe enough environment but if we are in a busy shopping center parking lot we simply cannot allow her to make her own choice in this context. She has to either hold our hand, or be carried, or sit in the shopping cart. She may not roam freely about the parking lot (which is the ONLY choice that she is happy with). I'm not sure if it's considered "punishment" to make her do something she doesn't want to do (she is all the while kicking and screaming and throwing a tantrum because we don't allow her to walk freely) but that is what we have to do in that situation. <br><br>
We did start giving her the freedom to walk down the driveway on her own and climb into the car seat on her own, she was doing really well with it but recently she got a wild hair and decided to take off running as fast as she could possibly run, she bolted into the street and we were literally chasing her down the middle of the street. When I caught her she had her freedom taken away and had to get carried (kicking and screaming) to her car seat. That is the kind of behavior where we cannot rely on natural consequences...We have to enforce a consequence (which is that she has lost the privilege of walking independently to the car until we decide she should have another chance to show that control). Yes, we still had a calm discussion with her (once she calmed down) and told her that she scared mommy and that she needs to always stop when mommy says stop so that mommy can keep her safe...but that talk alone isn't going to keep her from doing it again, she's not there yet. She's not ready to handle that kind of freedom (I've heard some people say things like "listen to your child and they will tell you what they want, what they need, what they are ready for etc..." well, I'm sorry but a 2 year old does not have the capacity to know when they are mentally and developmentally ready to walk with discretion out into the middle of the street--when they take off running down the middle of that street as you are telling them to stop--they are telling you that they aren't ready for that kind of responsibility). <br><br>
In my opinion that is one of the core principle's of parenting...yes they deserve to be treated with love, respect and kindness but they are also immature and irresponsible (we all start out that way, it's not a flaw or an insult-it's simply they way we start out) and until they can exercise certain amounts of self control and good judgement we have to keep them safe and lovingly enforce boundaries and yes sometimes even consequences. I don't see that as crushing their spirit or treating them as "lesser" beings than ourselves. It's preparing and equipping them for the world that we live in. It's the same for adults...there are certain boundaries and limits that we are expected to live by and if we choose not to, we will have consequences (some natural, others enforced) and that's just the way it is and the same goes for rewards. If my husband is respectful to his boss, shows up to work on time, & performs his responsibilities to the best of his ability he will probably get to keep his job and likely be rewarded with a pay raise at his annual review. If he decides that he doesn't feel like being around people this week because he needs some "me time" and doesn't show up to work, or if he decides that he wants to stay up until 2:00 a.m. and then the next day realizes that he really needs to catch up on his sleep and shows up to work at 11:00 a.m. he won't be working there very much longer.  And I do believe he wants to have a relationship with his boss. A professional one, but still a relationship indeed. If that relationship is terminated then it would be a trickle effect of consequences (loss of job for him, not a good reference making it difficult to find another job, financial hardship on his family which in turn can create stress in the marriage....you get the idea....and all because he acted on his feelings rather than doing what he was "expected" to do from an authority figure)</p>
 
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